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Review of Mele X1000 Blu-Ray Android TV Box (Telechips TCC8935)

March 27th, 2014 7 comments

Mele X1000 is an Android media player based on Telechips TCC8935 dual core Cortex A9 that is said to support Blu-ray video playback. You can refer to Mele X1000 specs for more technical details, as well as my previous Mele X1000 Unboxing post for pictures of the device, as well as the PCB.  Today I’ll review Mele X1000, by showing off the user interface, and going through the different settings, test video playback including a Blu-ray ISO, wi-fi performance, and report whether all other features such as Bluetooth, USB mass storage, USB webcam, etc… work as expected.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

This media player comes with an infrared remote and corresponding AAA batteries, but during most the tests I’ve actually switched to Mele F10 RF remote (not included) as it’s just more convenient to navigate menus, and I’ve also test an Android Remote app compatible with the device, but more on that later. After connected an Ethernet cable, the HDMI and AV cable, Mele F10 USB RF dongle, and the power supply, I’ve pressed to power button on the front panel to get started. Boot feels a little slow, and it might take close to one minute to reach the user’s interface shown below.

Multimedia Launcher (Click for Original Size)

Multimedia Launcher (Click for Original Size)

On the top right corner, you’ll get the time, day of the week, and the options to add some system information such as network status with IP address. At the bottom of the screen you’ve got a navigation bar with access to “File”, “Photo”, “Music”, “Movie”, Apps, Settings, and Internet (Android Browser). The first four menu give access to storage devices including SATA hard drive or SSD (not tested), USB flash driver, SD card, and NFS & SAMBA network shares. The app section redirect to the list of Android Apps, which only a few pre-installed, including Google Play. Media applications are IPDTV (not working for me), and XBMC plugins, but XBMC is not installed in this firmware, something I’ve been told would be corrected during mass production. The settings menu gives access to a custom setup menu, and the Android menu.

Movie Menu with Blu-Ray Region Code and Playback Options (Click for Original Size)

Movie Menu with Blu-Ray Region Code and Playback Mode Options (Click for Original Size)

If you do not like the default launcher named “Multimedia Launcher”, you can switch the default Android home screen, or even select a “Pop Up” that will ask you each time. The navigation bar shown above will still be there in the Android Home screen, but you’ll have access to the 5 screens to add apps or widgets, just like in stock Android. I’ve kept the Multimedia Launcher for testing.

I have to admit I’m impressive with the level of options found in the setup menu. There are options about the configure the System. Audio & Video Output, network, movie, music, photo, and access to Android settings. It’s the level of details inside the menu that I found particularly compelling. Since there are so many options, I won’t go through them all in the article, but I’ve shot a video instead.

Some of the goodies include:

  • Language options for system and subtitles
  • Screensaver mode and options
  • Auto power off time
  • HDMI, DVI and Composite output options (640×480 to 1080p60)
  • HDMI, SPDIF, and AV audio output options. Pass-through options with HDMI and SPDIF allows you to select which audio codec (eg . DTS, Dolby) to downsample, and which one to pass-through.
  • YouTube Cache Size configuratin
  • Blu-ray settings (shown in the screenshot above)
  • Power button can be set to suspend or power off the device
  • And many more

I had no problem setting up Wi-Fi and Ethernet, the only thing is that both can’t be enabled at the same time, or Wi-Fi won’t work.

I’ve used HDMI output with 1080p during my testing with the user interface always set to 720p. Component (YPbPr) is not supported, but I tested composite output with success. the only problem is that I’ve been unable to revert to HDMI without doing a factory reset in the menu… A video input button on the IR remote could have been nice.

Mele_X1000_About_DeviceMele X1000 has a 4GB flash, and there’s only one partition on the flash providing 2.29GB of storage, which means it may take a while before apps take all storage. All your medi files woudl have to be in external device with as USB drives, SATA hard drives, and network shares, whch I think is just fine for this type of device. Developer Options are enabled with lots of different options. Looking into the “About device” section shows the device name is  “MeLE″, and it’s running Android 4.2.2 with Kernel 3.1.10

The firmware is not rooted, and I have not tried to find a root method yet. I could install all applications I tried including ES File Explorer, Root checker, Antutu, Quadrant, Vellamo, Candy Crush Saga, Racing thunder 2, Sixaxis Controller, YouTube, Facebook etc…, except for one: Netflix, which did not show up in the search results. The apps I tried could run fine, except Quadrant with refused to start the tests.

As explained above, the power button on the front panel and the remote control can be used to put the device in suspend mode, or turn it off depending on the settings. This is possible thanks to an MCU that control power, IR, and the small LCD display, which appears to be more or less useless, as all I have seen is the power icon.

The firmware is relatively stable, but since the processor is only a dual core clocked at up to 1GHz, you may not want to do anything else while installing apps, as there’s a noticeable slowdown. For the rest of the time, it’s pretty smooth. There’s an animation between the main menu, which looks nice at first, but last about 3 seconds and becomes annoying overtime. During my testing, the Multimedia Launcher crashed three times, requiring a reboot.

TizzRemote App

In the Quick Start Guide, there’s mention of AirlinkMedia, an Android app to transform your smartphone or tablet into a remote control. They explain to look for it in Google Play, but there’s nothing there. The company finally then me a link to AirLinkRemote which failed to find my Mele. But previously, I found a QR code in the setup menu directing to TizzRemote, which immediately found my device, and allowed me to access control the files on the devices, and play YouTube videos. This also probably means the firmware and software has been developed by TizzBird, a Korean company specialized in Telechips products.

TizzMote App Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)

TizzMote App Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)

This remote app works pretty well, and you have access to files from your device or your phone. The files from the phone will only play in the phone however, where the files in the Mele will play on your TV. There are also remote and mouse modes, that allow you to use the touchscreen of your phone as a touchpad, and with buttons providing video playback trick modes. When I tried to input text using the soft keyboard on the phone, it would just show the previous letter twice on the TV. For example, test would show up as ttss, so basically unusable. The YouTube app is very similar to ChromeCast or EZCast, as you can search and play YouTube videos streaming directly to your box, but controlled by your phone. The YouTube videos I tried seemed to skip frames however.

Video Playback

As there’s an XBMC logo on the package, and at the bottom of the device itself, I expect to find XBMC, but all I could access was XBMC Plugin app. I’ve been told they will ship boxes to customer with XBMC Frodo V12, and I could just install this version. since XBMC Android is currently a mess, with different version depending on the device, I was not hopeful, and I tried to install the latest Frodo V12.3 apk, it could run and play videos, but it’s obvious it was just using software decode. I’ve asked the actual apk, and still waiting… So the only solution was to use the default user interface. I usually play from a SAMBA share, and configuration went smoothly, as the device automatically found the share, and entered the username and password, and success! Or so I was told because I never managed to see any files from my SAMBA share. I also tried with NFS, but same results. I tried to use ES File Explorer, which could connect to my SAMBA share, but it was clearly not using the internal player (required for Blu-Ray), and only the Android video player.  At this point I was quite frustrated. I was given a device promising XBMC, but without XBMC, and  it could not even be used as a networked media player. End of story, I used an 8GB Class 4 SD card to do video playback testing.

I started with the videos from samplemedia.linaro.org:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – Failed. “Unsupported video codec”
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – Failed. Black screen only
  • WebM / VP8 – Skip test. “File” and “Movie” menus can’t find .webm video files.

I’ve also tested some high bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi (1080p MPEG-4 – 10Mbps) – Failed. “Could not play video”
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK

I don’t own an audio system with HDMI or S/PDIF input, but the box could play all high-end audio codec below (downsampled to PCM) without any issues:

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – OK
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – OK
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR – OK

HDMI and S/PDIF pass-through should work as well, since there’s an option in the menu, but this has to be tested.

Since the product is being advertised as a Blu-ray Navigation Android TV Box, I could play Sintel-Bluray.iso, a free Blu-ray ISO file, without issue. I could also change the subtitles. I’m not sure how to test “Blu-ray Navigation”. I’ve asked the company at the beginning of the week, but I still have to receive an answer.

Finally, I played some random AVI, MKV, and MP4 videos without any problems. I also tried some FLV videos but many could not play well, either complaining about “unsupported codec”, or producing noise (audio).

Links to various video samples used in this review and be found in “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments.

Wi-Fi Performance

I’ve transferred a 278 MB video files between SAMBA and the internal flash, and vice versa. I repeated the test three times, and on average it took a cool 1:48 (2.57 MB/s), which makes Mele X1000′s Wi-Fi performance one of the best in the field, at least with my setup. This time the transfer rate in the direction Flash to SAMBA was faster (1:32) compared to the one from SAMBA to Flash (1:56). The SD card writing speed may have affected the result negatively.

Mele_X1000_WiFi_PerformancePlease bear in mind there are many factors when it comes to Wi-Fi performance, and the results you’ve got with your setup may be completely different than the ones I’ve gotten here.

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

There’s no built-in Bluetooth, but Bluetooth menu is enabled in the Android settings, so I connected a USB Bluetotoh dongle, which the device failed to recognize.

External Storage

I’ve used an SD card formatted with FAT32 to play videos that hat part works. I’ve also done the same successfully with a USB flash drive. At one point I used an SD card for the Raspberry Pi, and it could only see the FAT32 partition, so either the device can’t handle more than 2 partitions on a device, or it can’t handle ext-2 file systems.

There’s also an external SATA port, but I don’t have a spare 2.5″ drive to test it.

USB Webcam

I could use a low cost no brand USB webcam with both Skype and Google Hangouts. Video is working in both apps, and the “Echo Test” in Skype could record my voice using the webcam mic, and repeat the recording.

Gaming

I’ve tested 4 games: Angry Birds, Angry Birds Go,  Candy Crush Saga, and Racing Thunder 2. They could all run fine. You can play these with the included remote control,. but with Mele F10, this is playable, except the racing games which are more challenging. You could always Candy Crush Saga with TizzRemote, but this requires some practice (and maybe luck), using two fingers on your screen. However, with this rather low end processor, this is obviously not the best gaming platform.

Mele X1000 (and Telechips TCC8935) Benchmarks

Since this is a complete new processor to me, I’ve started by running CPU-Z to get some data.

Mele_X1000_TCC8935_CPU-ZBeside the CPU details, interesting part of the model name (full_tcc8930st) which could be used to build the kernel, there’s only 741MB RAM available, which mens the GPU and other part of the hardware take about 280 MB, and the manufacturer is said to be DigitalZone Co.Ltd & ChipAlive Co Ltd. instead of MeLE. This could be a mistake, as Mele does have their own factory.

I ran Antutu 4.x, Quadrant and Vellamo to test the system performance. Quadrant failed to start the full benchmark, but other two completed successfully.

Mele_X1000_Antutu

Mele X1000 scores 9,002 in Antutu whichseems reasonable as RK3188 devices with four Cortex A9 @ 1.6 GHz, and a Mali-400MP4 now get aroud 18,000. However, please note that the 2D/3D GPU testsAntutu were performed in portrait mode using only the center of te screen (526×672 resolution) which could have inflated the graphics results. MeLE X1000 is listed just under Samsung Galaxy S2 (Exynos 4210), which about 1,000 less points.

In Vellamo, the media player got 1118 points in the HTML5 test, and 285 in the metal test, placing Mele X1000 at about the same level as the Galaxy Nexus powered by Texas Instruments OMAP4460, another dual core Cortex A9 processor.

There’s nothing unusual about the performance of the device for a dual core processor. This won’t give you an optimal performance for Android, but for what the device specializes in, i.e. video playback, it should be just good enough.

Conclusion

There’s no need to hide than I’m disappointed by the device, not because of performance, but simply because the current firmware has so many shortcomings that it real feels beta. Having said that Mele X1000 feels like a solid device thanks to its metallic casing, SATA support, Blu-ray ISO playback, and excellent Wi-Fi performance.

Let’s summarize the PRO and CONS

  • PROS
    • Metallic enclosure
    • SATA port
    • Outstanding Wi-Fi performance
    • Blu-Ray ISO support
    • High level of details and configuration options in the setup menu
    • Decent Android Remote App
    • USB Webcam support
  • CONS
    • Multimedia launcher somewhat unstable
    • SAMBA and NFS currently not working
    • Some videos can’t play. Potential skipped frame in YouTube
    • External Bluetooth does not work
    • XBMC not pre-installed in this firmware (Mass production unit will come with XBMC)

Mele X1000 is currently sold for $179 including shipping, which is quite expensive considering the firmware status, but if everything works, it may be worth it if you plan to play Blu-Ray videos, and have a surround audio sub system. I can see good potential as a media player, but in the first few months, Mele’s customer may spend some time working out the bug, and will rely on Mele to provide firmware update to fix issues. If you don’t plan to play Blu-Ray ISO or rips, and will spend more time playing around wih other Android apps, you’d be better off with some cheaper and more powerful TV BOX, in terms of CPU and GPU performance, such as the many based on Rockchip RK3188.

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Mele X1000 Blu-ray Navigation Android Box Unboxing

March 25th, 2014 16 comments

Beside Mele Cast S1 Wi-Fi display dongle, Mele also sent me their X1000 Blu-ray Navigation Android Box. This device is interesting as it features a new SoC, namely Telechips TCC8935 dual core Cortex A9, supports Blu-ray navigation, SATA drives, and comes pre-loaded with XBMC. You can read my Mele X1000 post to get the full hardware specifications. Today, I’ll show unboxing pictures and video, as well as photos of the PCB. In a few days, I’ll follow up with a complete detailed review.

Mele X1000 Unboxing Pics and Video

I’ve received the device in a carton box, with a sticker showing the specs, and providing a link to meleshop.com. The product is listed in this site but they don’t actually sell it there. and instead Mele X1000 can be purchased in Aliexpress for $179, including shipping via Singapore Post.

Mele X1000 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Mele X1000 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

In the package, you’ll find the media player, an IR remote control with two AAA batteries, HDMI and AV cables, a rather large 12V/2A power supply, and a Quick Start Guide describing the ports, and mostly showing how to configure and use the device user’s interface and XBMC, after installing it.

Mele X1000 (Click to Enlarge)

Mele X1000 (Click to Enlarge)

The enclosure is pretty large (19x12x4 cm) compared to recent Android TV boxes, but it’s made of aluminum, and not cheap plastic like most devices on the market. There’s a small LCD display on the left of the panel, as well as the power button.

Mele X1000 Side (Click to Enlarge)

Mele X1000 Side (Click to Enlarge)

On the side, we’ve got one USB host port, and an SD card slot.

Mele X1000 Rear Panel (Click to Enlarge)

Mele X1000 Rear Panel (Click to Enlarge)

But most of the ports can be found on the rear panel: a micro USB port, AV out, DC-in, HDMI, optical S/PDIF, Ethernet and another USB port. On the top left, you’ll also find a the Wi-Fi antenna and a SATA connector.  Unless there are some SATA enclosures on the market (not USB to SATA), your hard drive or SSD would just be places on the furniture, and on the top of the box with some isolation. On the bottom of the enclosure, there are some logos with CCC and CE certifications, XBMC, HDMI, Android, 3D, DTS Dolby, and Dolby Digital Plus. I’m confident these last two audio codecs will be supported by the player, as Telechips actually paid for the licenses…

You may watch the unboxing video below.

Mele X1000 Board

As usual I’ve opened the box. With metallic casing, it’s usually pretty simple, as you don’t have those pesky plastic clips. I just had to remove 4 screws on the bottom, and slide the case to access the board.

Mele X1000 without Cover (Click to Enlarge)

Mele X1000 without Cover (Click to Enlarge)

We can already see some interesting features on the board. There’s no 4GB NAND flash, but instead the company used a 4GB SD card. I only see this one with HiaPad Hi802 (GK802) mini PC. They are also using a battery, most probably for the RTC. Again, it’s something I’ve never seen on the other Android media players I’ve tested.

Top of Mele X1000 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

Top of Mele X1000 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

Then I remove 4 or 5 other screws, disconnected the Wi-Fi antenna, and the SATA cables to completely remove the board from the enclosure. You’ll notice a connector at the top left of the board, that’s actually hidden when the board is fitted into the enclosure. It’s a Standard-B USB 3.0 connector. Telechips supports USB 3.0, so I suppose in theory it would have been possible to use Mele X1000 as an external USB hard drive, but the company told me they won’t solder the connector for mass production. The serial console pins appear to be available at the bottom right corner on the picture. The silkscreen reads “TCC8935-g03-v1.10-0″ and “WLBM821-2530110-90″. I’m not sure what the second stands for, but the first could be useful once sources are leaked or released.

Bottom of Mele X1000 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of Mele X1000 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

There’s not much to see on the back of the board.

That’s all for today, I’ve got some testing to do…

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Mele Cast S1 EZCast / Miracast / DLNA / Airplay Dongle Review

March 23rd, 2014 4 comments

EZCast is a Wi-Fi display protocol that allows you to display local and online media and office files from your Android/iOS smartphone or Mac/WIndows computer onto your TV. It requires an app and an hardware EZCast dongle to connect to your HDMI enabled TV. I’ve already reviewed two EZcast dongles: Tronmart T1000, and WiDiCast EC-E2.  Mele sent me their own version, Mele Cast S1, together with Mele X1000 Blu-ray Navigation Android TV box, which I’ll review another day. Today, I’ll go through Mele Cast S1 specs, show some pictures including a comparison with T1000, and try it with an Android smartphone.

Mele Cast S1 Specifications

Unsurprisingly the hardware specs are the same of the other EZCast dongles, and the only thing that changes is the enclosure.

  • SoC – Action Semi AM8251 @ 600MHz (MIPS)
  • System memory – 128 MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 128 MB NAND Flash
  • Video output – HDMI
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Standards – Miracast, Airplay, DLNA, and EZCast
  • Video container formats – avi, .divx, .mkv, .ts, .dat, .vob, .mpg, .mpeg, .mov, .mp4, .rm, .rmvb, .wmv,
  • Audio formats / codecs – MP1/MP2,/MP3, WMA, OGG, ADPCM-WAV, PCM-WAV, AAC    etc
  • USB – micro USB port for power
  • Power – 5V/0.5A
  • Dimensions –  86.5 x 31 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight – 19.5
  • Weight – About 20 grams

The device runs Linux. EZCast mode is supported with Android 4.0 or above, iPhones with iOS 6.0 or greater, Windows XP/7/8, and Mac OS 10.7 or greater. EZMirror (Miracast) is supported with Android 4.2.x devices with Wi-Fi direct support.

Mele Cast S1 Unboxing

Mele package is a little fancier than other products, and list specs and features in several languages (English, Gernman, Italian, French, Spanish, and Russian).

MeLE Cast S1 Package (Click to Enlarge)

MeLE Cast S1 Package (Click to Enlarge)

The box contains the dongle which features the usual HDMI and micro USB ports, a micro USB to USB cable, a short HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English to show how to use EZCast with different systems (Android, Computer, iPhone…). You can watch the unboxing video if you please.

MeLE Cast S1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

MeLE Cast S1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The picture below shows WiDiCast EC-E2, Mele Cast S1 and Tronsmart T1000. The first two integrate the Wi-Fi module in their body, with WiDiCast having an external antenna, but Tronsmart T1000 Wi-Fi module is separate and must be connected via micro USB and Y USB cable that also provides power the the device.

MeLE_Cast_S1_Tronsmart_T1000_WiDiCast

WiDiCast vs Mele Cast S1 vs Tronsmart T1000

Some people claim the external Wi-Fi dongle is an advantage because it provided better Wi-Fi connectivity, but my previous tests showed, at least in my environment, that it did not really matter. T1000 Wi-Fi / USB cable is also proprietary, so in case you lose it, you’d have to buy one online again. It’s just $5, but you’d still have to wait a few weeks before getting it. I personally find Mele Cast S1 is the best looking of the lot, and the thinnest, but since this is a tiny thing you just connect behind the TV, or place on the TV furniture, this may not be that important for most people.

Mele Cast S1 Review with Android

I’ve tested WiDicast with ThL W200, a smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6589T running Android 4.2.1, in EZCast,  EZMirror (Miracast) and DLNA mode. EZCast worked pretty well, but DLNA and Mircast was a frustrating and painful experience. I’ve my previsous EZCast reviews I’ve changed TV, so the dongle is at a slightly different location, and EZCast firmware and Android app have been updated so it’s difficult to say if it is related to the hardware, and simply firmware and/or software has become less stable.

All HDMI ports on my TV are used, so I connected the device via an HDMI switcher, placed it in front of my TV, and connected the micro USB to USB cabled to my TV’s USB port for power. I used EZCast app from Google Play (15 March version), and configured the dongle to connect to my Wi-Fi router to complete the setup.

In EZCast mode, I could show my local files including photos, document (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc…), music without problem. The camera app worked, but as usual, it was very sluggish. I could play YouTube videos without problem with Web pages and Cloud Video menus. All good.

EZMirror (Miracast), however, is a disaster, except to display pictures, or use mostly static apps. I ran Candy Crush, a games that should not requires too much screen refresh, but the dongle could not handle it, and sometimes I lost connection. In EZCast mode, the music menu is pretty much useless, because you can select individual songs, and there’s no way to select playlist, or  add songs to a queue. So I tried to play music via Miracast, and I had frequent audio cuts even at 2 meters from the device. With other EZCast devices, I could go outside my room (5 to 6 meters + walls), but in this case, all audio would completely stop.

This time I’ve also tested DLNA by using Skifta to play the music files inside my phone. This has the advantage of letting me start playlist, and the range is pretty good when it works… In DLNA mode, you’d better not play with volume control apparently, as Mele Cast S1 hung three times, requiring a reboot.

Conclusion

Mele Cast S1 works OK in EZCast mode with Android, and my experience was similar to other EZCast dongles. However, I’m sad to say Miracast is basically unusable, and DLNA very unstable. I have not tried the device with Windows, but I fully expect the performance to be poor, just like it did with T1000.

Mele Cast S1 can be purchased for as low as $38 on Aliexpress or GeekBuying. That’s about the same price as WiDicast, but a little more than Tronsmart T1000 which you can get for $28 including shipping. Another hardware option would be the ChromeCast that now supports EZCast, at least partially.

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Mele X1000 Android Media Player Supports Blu-Ray Navigation, 3D Video Playback

February 19th, 2014 6 comments

Mele X1000 is an Android TV Box based on Telechips TCC8935 dual core processor, 1GB RAM, and 4GB Flash that claims to support Blu-Ray navigation and 3D Video playback, something that is seldom supported in Android devices, but can still be found in a few products including HiMedia Q5 II (Hisilicon Hi3716) and VidOn.me A200 (AllWinner A31).

Mele_X1000Mele X1000 specifications:

  • SoC – Telechips TCC8935CG dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.2GHz + Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash, SATA, and SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI v1.4, CVBS (AV out)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV out, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – MPEG-1/2/4, MPEG-4 ASP, H.264, DivX 3/4/5/6, XviD, VP6, H.263, WMV9, WMV3, VC1, RV 8/9/10
  • Video Containers – AVI, ts, tp, trp, vob, mkv, mp4, mpv, iso, asf, flv, dat, mpg, mpeg, swf, ogm, wmv, asf, rm, rmvb up to 1080p
  • Audio Support – Dolby, DTS 2.0. Pass-through: Dolby digital, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD
  • BD/3D – BD ISO, Blu-ray navigation, 3D ISO, 3D MVC
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Network functions – DLNA, Miracast, NFS, SAMBA, BT, Web DAV
  • USB – 1x USB host, 1x micro USB (OTG?)
  • Power supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 19x12x4 cm (Aluminum casing)

The device ships with a power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, a remote control (without batteries), and a quick start guide. Mele X1000 currently runs Android 4.2, but an upgrade to Android 4.4 is expected. The firmware comes pre-installed with Google Play, XBMC, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and some other apps.

Mele_X1000_Connectors

You’ll notice SATA support in the hardware specifications, but there does not seem to be any internal bay, and you’d need to connect your SATA drive via the SATA ports available from the rear panel (top right, close to the Wi-Fi antenna). According to TCC893x block diagram, there’s no SATA, so it must have been implemented via a USB 2.0 (or 3.0) to SATA bridge.

Mele X1000 appears to be available now for $199 including shipping, compared to $130 for HiMedia Q5 II and $239 for VidOn.me AV200, respectively dual and quad core Android STBs. That’s also considerably more expensive than Hotach HTV003 (About $60), also based on TCC8935, which lacks SATA, AV output, S/PDIF, Blu-ray navigation and 3D video playback.

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Fedora 19 ARM Remix R1 Release With Support for AllWinner A10, A10s, A13 and A20 SoCs

July 22nd, 2013 12 comments

Fedora_18_AllWinner_A1XAfter releasing a stable version of Fedora 18 for AllWinner A10 and A13 in February, Hans de Goede, working at Red Hat and a Fedora contributor, has recently announced “Fedora 19 ARM remix for Allwinner SOCs” on linux-sunxi community mailing list. This released based on Fedora 19 for ARM together with linux-sunxi kernel and u-boot, adds support for A10s and A20 based devices, and 38 boards and devices are now supported.

To give it a try, download the 665MB image:

wget http://scotland.proximity.on.ca/contrib-images/hansg/Fedora-19-a10-armhfp-r1.img.xz

then write it to an SD card (8GB or greater):

xzcat Fedora-19-a10-armhfp-r1.img.xz > /dev/[device]
sync

Where you have to replace [device] with your actual SD card device, e.g. sdc.Since u-boot is board/product specific, you’ll also have to update u-boot for your hardware. Remove the SD card, re-insert it, and run:<

sh <uboot-part-mount>/select-board.sh

to display a graphical menu (if dialog is installed on your Linux PC), or a list supported boards and products:

Available boards:
a10_mid_1gb         A10 tablet sold under various names (whitelabel)
a13_mid             A13 tablet sold under various names (whitelabel)
a10s-olinuxino-m    A10s-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
a13-olinuxino       A13-OLinuXino (Olimex)
a13-olinuxinom      A13-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
a20-olinuxino_micro A20-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
auxtek-t003         Auxtek T003 hdmi tv stick
auxtek-t004         Auxtek T004 hdmi tv stick
ba10_tv_box         BA10 TV Box
coby_mid7042        Coby MID7042 tablet
coby_mid8042        Coby MID8042 tablet
coby_mid9742        Coby MID9742 tablet
cubieboard_512      Cubieboard development board 512 MB RAM
cubieboard          Cubieboard development board 1024 MB RAM
cubieboard2         Cubieboard 2 (A20) development board
dns_m82             DNS AirTab M82 tablet
EOMA68-A10          EOMA68 A10 CPU card
gooseberry_a721     Gooseberry development board
h6                  H6 netbook
hackberry           Hackberry development board
hyundai_a7hd        Hyundai a7hd tablet
inet97f-ii          iNet-97F Rev.2 (and clones) tablet
mele_a1000          Mele a1000/a2000 512 MB RAM
mele_a1000g         Mele a1000g/a2000g 1024 MB RAM
mele_a3700          Mele a3700 (a1000g without sata)
mini-x              Mini-X 512 MB RAM
mini-x-1gb          Mini-X 1024 MB RAM
mk802               mk802 (with female mini hdmi) 512 MB RAM
mk802-1gb           mk802 (with female mini hdmi) 1024 MB RAM
mk802_a10s          mk802 with A10s (s with a circle around it on the barcode label
mk802ii             mk802ii (with male normal hdmi) 1024 MB RAM
pcduino             pcDuino development board
pov_protab2_ips9    Point of View ProTab 2 IPS 9" tablet
pov_protab2_ips_3g  Point of View ProTab 2 IPS tablet with 3g
r7-tv-dongle        r7 hdmi tv stick
uhost_u1a           UHost U1A hdmi tv stick
wobo-i5             Wobo i5 TV Box
xzpad700            XZPAD700 7" tablet

Select you board in the graphical menu, or by running the command with your board, e.g.:

sudo sh <uboot-part-mount>/select-board.sh cubieboard2

Finally umount the uboot and rootfs partitions:

umount /run/media/hans/uboot
umount /run/media/hans/rootfs

The SD card is now ready. Insert it in your A1X/A20 device, connect the device to an HDMI or DVI monitor, and power it up to complete the installation. It will first resize the root partition to make full use of your SD card storage space, reboot automatically, and enter the first boot setup, where you’ll be able to configure networking, the timezone, create a root password, and create a normal user, before accessing Fedora 19.

As with Fedora 18, there’s no support for 2D (G2D engine), 3D (Mali 400 GPU), nor video decoding acceleration (CedarX VPU). AllWinner A20 support as been tested with Cubieboard2 development board, and the following are known to work:

  • UARTs, I2C controllers
  • MMC controllers
  • EHCI and OHCI USB controllers (USB controllers 1 and 2, but controller 0 is an OTG controller and is not supported yet).
  • Video Output – HDMI, VGA, LCD, Composite Out
  • AXP PMIC including CPU voltage scaling
  • RTC
  • SOUND – Analog in/out, HDMI audio, S/PDIF out (SPDIF ported, but not tested)
  • Ethernet controller (emac)
  • SATA controller

You can also build the Fedora image yourself by using the scripts available at https://github.com/jwrdegoede/sunxi-fedora-scripts.git.

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Mele M9 Android Set-top Box Powered by AllWinner A31

June 20th, 2013 5 comments

After Mele A1000G Quad, Mele has just launched another model called M9, still based on AllWinner A31 quad core processor, with an external Wi-Fi antenna, but no SATA support.

Mele_M9

Mele M9 specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner A31 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.5GHz + PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage
    • 16GB NAND Flash
    • SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Audio I/O – HDMI + S/PDIF optical out + Audio jack output
  • Video Playback – Up to 2160p @ 60 Mbps
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Connectivity
    • Ethernet – 10/100Mbps
    • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

The device runs Android 4.1 with a customized “Windows 8″ user interface, and comes with a 5V/2A power adapter, an IR remote control (show below), an HDMI cable, a user’s manual, and a warranty card.

Mele_M9_Remote
The remote above as a mouse button, to allow you to move the cursor with the arrow keys. Personally, I can’t use this feature on an IR remote without going insane (I tried with 2 different devices), so you may really to get an Air Mouse as well, if you plan to use Android.

Mele sells it on their Aliexpress Store for a whopping $188.88 including shipping, and other Aliexpress sellers seem to offer the set-top box for similar or even higher prices. Considering you can get the Mele A1000G Quad for less than $140 on their store that seems very steep price for just an external antenna, and a RK3188 based set-top box with similar features is available for less than $100. So I went to check on Taobao, and the price is much different:

  • 699 RMB (~ $114) for the “Standard version” as above.
  • 899 RMB (~ $147) for the “Extreme version” including Mele F10 Pro Air mouse.

It’s normal the price is cheaper in China, since shipping overseas adds to cost, but the price should just be $15 to $20 more expensive, not over $70. I’ve been told the Chinese and International versions have completely different firmware and APK, but I find it hard to justify the price difference, and there must be some other reasons Chinese readers might find out. There’s also another seller that sells a Mele STB, with similar specs, for $132.50 including shipping, which strangely features VGA and composite outputs. The seller confirmed it was not the Mele M9, and just told me it was model A7 (which does not exist)….

Even though RK3188 have a better overall performance, AllWinner A31 is better than Rockchip RK3188 when it comes to gaming, and supports 4K2K video playback (currently) downscaled to 720p or 1080p depending on your output resolution, as there aren’t any A31 based devices with 2160p HDMI output yet according to AllWinner. Mele STBs also do not come with built-in Bluetooth, which may be problematic if you want to use a Bluetooth game controller to play games. Some people have reported Mele A1000G Quad firmware is unstable, and I had problems with CS868 mini PC firmware, so firmware for devices based on AllWinner A31 may not be very stable just yet.

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Mele F10 Pro “Fly Mouse” Comes with Microphone and Speaker

June 13th, 2013 19 comments

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Mele F10, a dual sided 2.4 GHz remote with a QWERTY keyboard and gyroscope, and found it to be a very good complement to any Android STB or mini-PC, with some caveats such as none optimal key arrangements, a lack of play/pause button… You can also use it with Windows and Linux. This product has been available for sale for a while, and Mele has just introduced a new version, called Mele F10 Pro, with better accuracy, and a built-in microphone and speaker for voice command or video chat apps such as Skype and Google Hangout.

Mele F10 Pro

The new RF receiver dongle is much bigger than the original one which could be a problem if you use it with a mini-PC directly connected to the HDMI port of your TV, but I’ve been told the larger size is due to extra components to handle audio. One good thing is that all keys on the remote side appear to be useful, the right and left mouse button have been moved, hopefully to free the center pad as an Enter button. The are also next / prev buttons, and a gaming button, as the remote can also be used with a number of games (about 16 are officially supported).

Mele_F10_Pro_Keyboard

They’ve also made a number of chances to the layout of the QWERTY keyboard side, but I’m not sure I really like all of those chances, except potentially for gaming, and you can now access the 2 mouse buttons from both sides. For those hoping for a tab key, it’s still missing, but with the mouse buttons being there, you don’t need to turn over the remote to click on next. I’ll have to try to get a better feel.

The device is available for pre-order $38.87 including shipping on Mele’s aliexpress store, and it should ship by the end of the month. You can get a $2 coupon there [Update: The aliexpress coupon is only valid for orders > $100, but they've told me you could write "I know F10 PRO from cnx-software" in the comment field during the order process to get $2 off], and get 10% discount on week-ends. You can cumulate both offers. There may also be some $5 coupons around, but I don’t know of a working one below $50. I’ve noticed Mele does not always price their own devices very aggressively in their Aliexpress store, but with the week-end deal and $2 discount, the discounted price (~$33) might be reasonable. For reference, I paid $25 for the original version of the Mele F10.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Categories: Android, Hardware, Linux, Windows 8 Tags: mele